Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
After taking Yu Chu to a room at the end of the third floor, Zhou Mu turned around and headed downstairs, leaving Yu Chu alone outside the thick black lacquered door.
The hallway was quiet, and the door wasn’t closed tightly, so he could hear faint sounds of conversation.
“Dad, I really didn’t allow it, that kid Li Wei is just lustful! I’ve been entertaining the guests downstairs. I didn’t even know he wanted to do something like that!”
When Yu Chu heard this, his gaze flickered in the darkness and moved very gently to lean over his upper body, pressing his ear to the gap in the doorway.
A majestic, low voice rang out, “Yu Feng, what happened with Li Wei tonight, we are both aware. Did you send someone to lure Zhou Mu away? Did Li Wei get your permission? Did you send someone to drug Yu Chu’s water?”
“Dad, I really—”
“When you usually did something small, I thought it would be harmless and not a big deal, but this time you are trying to ruin Yu Chu and ruin our Yu family’s reputation!”
The voice steeply raised its volume, becoming more solemn and cold, and the other person in the room suddenly stopped making a sound.
“Yu Chu is not going to fight for what belongs to you and you won’t lose anything that belongs to you and the whole Yu family will be yours in the future. Why are you targeting him like this? Yu Chu’s last name is Yu, he’s my son, and your brother. Li Wei only gave up 30% profit, and you sold him out. Do you still have me as your father and the Yu family in your eyes?!”
There was a slap on the table and the tinkling of a teacup in the room, followed by something falling on the floor and shattering. Yu Chu still held his breath and listened quietly from outside the door.
“Do you think this is just about Yu Chu? Fortunately, there were no repercussions tonight, otherwise, the Yu family would have become a laughing stock, and we wouldn’t be able to hold our heads up for the rest of our lives! You’ll have to preside over the Yu family in the future. A person who can sell his brother for 30% profit… will those partners continue to trust you? Will the foundation of the Yu family not be cut off in your hands?”
After a few seconds of silence, a crisp slap sounded, followed by the sound of knees hitting the floor, “Dad, I was wrong. I’m narrow-minded and uneducated, I was really wrong…”
“Yu Chu’s mother is gone, and he has never formally entered the Yu family, so he can’t be a thorn in your side.”
“Dad, I know I made a mistake. I won’t dare to do it again…”
“Tonight, you must be punished. You will spend one month in the mansion, and you will not be allowed to leave the mansion or the island. Also, your mother will be sent out of the country and not allowed to return for 6 months. If there’s another mistake like this, there will be no mercy.”
“Dad, this was my idea alone. It’s not any of my mother’s business—”
“One more word, and she won’t be allowed to return to China for a year.” The voice cut him off coldly.
Yu Chu had just stood up straight when the door was pulled open, and he met up with a tall, thin young man wearing gold-rimmed glasses.
This young man was the one who started to see off the guests at the entrance of the hall. He was tall and thin, with narrow eyes and a clear red mark of a slap on the left side of his face, shady and wretched; he must be Yu Feng, the eldest son of the Yu family.
Yu Feng saw Yu Chu, he became visibly stunned, and when he guessed that he probably heard him being slapped just now, his face suddenly turned red, making even the slap mark less noticeable.
He wanted to leave, but Yu Chu stood at the door without moving, blocking the way out.
According to Yu Feng’s usual temper, he would have pushed the person aside rudely and thrown him a few reprimanding words. But Yu ShiQing was inside the room, and he could feel the stern gaze from behind him, so he just swallowed his temper and squeezed a few words from between his teeth, “Brother, please step aside.”
The words sounded calm, but behind the lenses of his glasses were two sinister lines of sight.
He waited for Yu Chu to mumble that it was no problem, then step aside with his head bowed down.
——This lowly bastard, who always looked stupid, didn’t even dare to look up at him.
But what he didn’t expect was that Yu Chu didn’t respond to his words, nor did he step aside to make way, but still stood in the doorway and stared at him.
Was he stunned?
He was half a head taller than Yu Chu, which blocked the light inside the room and Yu ShiQin’s gaze, shrouding Yu Chu’s thin figure in shadow. When he was ready to speak again, he saw Yu Chu’s lips curl up very slowly.
——It was a smile full of treachery and malice spreading from the corners of the slightly curved mouth, and when it reached the bottom of his eyes, it shone with a light colder than ice spikes.
Yu Feng, in that instant, felt chills, making his heart tremble. His brain suddenly conjured an image of vipers spitting venom, and, at that moment, he forgot how to speak.
But that smile disappeared from Yu Chu’s face as quickly as an illusion. The person in front of him still had those big watery eyes open, with the stupidity of not understanding anything and the timidity of a coward.
Yu Feng’s heart was still beating wildly, but after realizing the fact that he was frightened by him, he suddenly became angry and annoyed, so his volume couldn’t help but rise, “I told you to get out of the way, did not you hear me?!”
Inside the room, Yu ShiQing also sternly exclaimed, “Is this how you speak to your brother?!”
Yu Chu lowered his head and stepped aside to make way, and Yu Feng paused for two seconds before finally not daring to say anything, only to brush past him and leave with hatred.
“Yu Chu, come in.” Yu ShiQing said.
Yu Chu obediently entered the room.
“Close the door behind you.”
Yu Chu closed the door.
Yu ShiQing was over fifty years old and looked very similar to Yu Feng, with a thin face and long narrow eyes, except that his face was colder and more rigid, with two stern, deep furrows on his eyebrows. At this time, he sat behind a broad mahogany desk and watched with mixed feelings as Yu Chu slowly walked to the center of the room and slowly looked up at him.
This son looked just like his dead mother; although the woman’s face was no longer clear, he still remembered those big eyes that were always timid. Her temperament was also sullen, and he never knew exactly what he was thinking.
Maybe there was nothing in that mind.
After a few moments of silence, Yu ShiQing spoke, “Yu Chu, I know everything that happened tonight.”
Yu Chu looked at him quietly without speaking.
“Dad has already punished Yu Feng since he did it to take it out on you, and I will also make it hard for that Li Wei next.” Yu ShiQing picked up the tea on the table, uncovered the lid, and gently skimmed off the tea foam on it.
He was waiting for Yu Chu to show a flattering look and say something about how touched he was, but Yu Chu still looked at him like before, with no emotion visible on his face. Only a mockery-like smile flashed under his eyes, but when he looked at it again, he only saw confusion.
“Fortunately, you didn’t suffer any substantial injury, and your brother didn’t make a big mistake. He has been duly punished, so you shouldn’t take this to heart and hold a grudge against your brother from now on.” Yu ShiQing continued.
After finishing what he wanted to say, he watched Yu Chu without moving, trying to find whether his face showed any dissatisfaction. However, Yu Chu still had no expression, only looking at him with wide-open eyes.
Yu ShiQing put down his teacup and sighed, unable to say whether he was disappointed or relieved inside. He unbuttoned the top button of his shirt, and a delicate gold chain slipped outside his shirt.
The end of the gold chain was adorned with a small cross and a small, gold hollowed-out ball. The ball was quite delicate, the gold chain ran right through it, but the cross looked clumsy, carved out of wood. The thickness of the top and the bottom were different, and there were also some distortions.
When Yu ShiQing saw Yu Chu staring at his chest, he took the two pendants by the hand and said, “Remember? This is the gift you and Xiao Feng gave me on my 40th birthday. Xiao Feng made a wishing ball, and you made a wooden carving. Dad cherishes it and has worn it at all times, never taking it off for more than ten years.”
“Hmm.” Yu Chu responded vaguely.
Yu ShiQing stared at the pendant, seemingly caught up in memories, and his gaze had more than a bit of warmth in it. A few moments later, he said, “Our family is doing serious business, but the tree is big and attracts the wind and is watched by many people. You two brothers must also get along well and support each other. That’s it then. You’re also tired from today. Go back to rest early.”
Yu Chu nodded to him, turned around, and headed for the door. Just as he pulled the door open, he heard Yu ShiQing ask behind him, “Do you have something you want? Or any request? Dad will grant you anything.”
Yu Chu’s steps paused; he touched his cheek with his tongue and gave his first smile in this room to the door. He maintained this expression and turned around, saying in a cheerful tone, “I want to leave the island and go somewhere else to play.”
When Yu Chu listened to these words, the warmth on his face flew away abruptly, and a deep gloom enveloped him. He stared at Yu Chu, and his tone became cold and stern, “How many times do I have to repeat myself? You can’t leave the island, so stay on the island and don’t go anywhere! Don’t think that dad is too strict with you. It’s all for your good! Remember, if you ever bring up the island again, you won’t even have the chance to leave the mansion and go to the beach!”
Yu Chu just heard clearly that he punished Yu Feng not to leave the mansion and the island for a month, which meant that when Yu Feng wasn’t punished, he could usually leave the island.
Then why couldn’t he?
Yu Chu had many doubts in his heart, but he knew he couldn’t ask further questions, so he turned around and left the room in silence.
Back in his room on the second floor, he took a bath, closed his eyes and soaked in the bathtub, relaxed a little, and began to think about the day’s events. Only when the water was getting cold did he get up and put on a bathrobe, loosely tied it with a belt, and wiped his hair with a towel while he went to his bedroom to turn on the TV.
With the background noise of the news anchorwoman, he pulled open the curtains. The summer night breeze laced with salty seawater drove away some of the depression in his heart. There was no light on in the room. He was under the bright light of the TV, touching the deformed pinky knuckle, sitting on the windowsill with a sullen face.
He didn’t know what the outside world was like but he didn’t want to stay on the island. Now everything was unclear, and he couldn’t act rashly. He could only wait until he became more familiar with the situation before he could move on with his idea of leaving.
When the time came, if anyone stopped him, he would kill them.
He was thinking this secretly when he heard movement from a corner of the garden downstairs, someone was talking, and there was a muffled snapping sound. The sound was familiar to him, and it was the sound of a leather whip rolling with a bitter wind and landing heavily on flesh.
He looked over there and found several figures standing in a small clearing, and by the not-so-bright streetlight, he felt that the tallest of them looked like Zhou Mu. To confirm, he turned off the television set so that the room was completely dark, and the faces of several people in the garden suddenly became clear.
One of them was none other than Zhou Mu, who was now bare-chested and wearing only a pair of black pants, facing Yu Chu’s direction. His short-sleeved T-shirt was on the side, covering the flower branches, revealing the taut and firm muscles of his chest and abdomen.
Two people stood to his left and right, one behind him a few meters away, holding a long leather whip.
The whip was raised and swung down; Yu Chu saw Zhou Mu, in that instant, frown, all his muscles tensed up, but he still had half-lidded eyes, not saying a word.
Yu Chu knew the pain of being lashed by a whip; that was his nightmare that could not be dispersed. After being beaten, he would be in bed for three or two days, with a high fever, slipping in and out of consciousness. Once the group of children escaped from that place, they didn’t experience the torture of whipping, but the old whip marks were branded deep in their skin; as soon as he heard that snapping sound, the heart-breaking stabbing pain followed.
The leather whip that beat Zhou Mu was thicker and stronger, its body shiny and glossy, and each stroke resonated throughout the garden. He only looked a little pale, his body shaking with each whiplash, but otherwise, he didn’t show any reaction.
At that moment, Zhou Mu suddenly raised his head and looked sharply at the second-floor window.
Yu Chu was sitting behind the window, the first reaction he had was that the other man saw him, so he reflexively hid. His upper body leaned back; then he realized that the room’s lights were turned off. It was dark, and Zhou Mu couldn’t see anything and only then stopped and continued to spy.
After five lashes, the man behind Zhou Mou stopped, panting and looking towards the door; Yu Chu then noticed that there was still a man standing there, short and kind-faced, even if he was standing there silently, his face was still smiling.
But the words that came out of his mouth were not as friendly as his looks.
“Zhou Mu, today the second young master was almost in danger; the main responsibility lies in your negligence. The young master and the master are kind-hearted, and for the sake of your usual loyalty, you’re only punished with five lashes. Do you accept this punishment?”
Yu Chu saw Zhou Mu slowly open his lips and said hoarsely, “Thank you, sir, young master and Uncle Wu, I accept it.”
He half-hanged his head, the peak of his eyebrows blocking the light, the upper part of his face hidden in the shadows, only his tightly pursed lips and sharp jaw profile could be seen.
Uncle Wu smiled amiably and said to the two people next to him, “Why don’t you help your brother Mu to go back and rest?”
The two answered, hurriedly moved, on to the left and one to the right to hold Zhou Mu’s arm, but he side-stepped to avoid them. He picked up the T-shirt on the flower branch and walked alone in the other direction. When he turned around, Yu Chu saw several staggered and hideous whip marks on his back.
The people in the garden dispersed, and silence returned to the area. The lights of the docks along the coast were extraordinarily bright, hired thugs patrolled the gates of the Yu’s mansion, and occasionally red dots could be seen flashing, probably the lights of the intercoms as they were pressed.
Yu Chu retreated to his room, closed the curtains, and turned on the lights in several rooms in this suite, including the bathroom and living room. Then, in the bright light, he got under the covers of his bed and went to sleep.